FAMILY firms seem to be forging ahead at the current time. Maybe it's wishful thinking but hearing Chris I'Anson's hopes and plans for the future at the family feed firm in Masham and looking at company's such as Heck Sausages at Bedale gives a real vote of confidence. Presumably the people behind these successful firms, often several generations, could very easily sell out to big business, put their feet up and live off the proceeds, but they don't.

The legacy of Heck Sausages and the Keeble family's previous unhappy experience when they combined their former successful sausage company with a major player is a case in point. When the take over company decided they wanted to move out of Yorkshire the Keeble's were not prepared to do it and started again originally at Leeming Bar and now at their purpose built Heck factory near Kirklington.

Theakston's Brewery at Masham has a similar story, the family company was taken over in the 80's eventually ending up in the hands of mammoths of the industry Scottish and Newcastle breweries. But members of the Theakston family fought to get it back and in 2003 managed to do that eventually returning all their beers to Masham for brewing.

Meanwhile the Black Sheep brewery, started by determined family member Paul Theakston after the original Theakston's was taken over carried on the brewing tradition in Masham. So now there are two independent breweries run by members of the Theakston family who originally set up the company in 1827.

And that's one of the big things about family firms, there's usually an interesting story behind them, maybe it's in the genes.